Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spanner Chapter 1: Spanner in the Works (Revision 4)

Chaos Angel Spanner — Book 1: Rock City Blues
Chapter 1: Spanner in the Works (Revision 4)

August 19, 2014: Revolution Day, one of the high holy days of the American Religion. Two years ago, the Conservative Revolution saved the American Empire from freedom and democracy in the name of God, the dominion of wealth, and Manifest Destiny. But the revolution is only for the chosen few. For the unchosen majority, there is only hell.

Among the ruling Conservative Revolutionary Party’s opponents, the more aware know the revolutionary élite cannot keep the masses down forever, and the more enterprising are already preparing for the post-revolutionary age to come. Two revolutionary élite themselves fear two people they believe can actually end the revolution: Shira Thomas, a interracial teenage tomboy slut whose eugenically incorrect ancestry makes her a outcast and whose temperament makes her a menace; and the mysterious rogue vigilante they call Spanner...

This is the much expanded version of the chapter first posted during NaNoWriMo 2010. The first versions of Parts 1 through 3 were added for Script Frenzy 2011; the introductions of Shira and Jennifer in Parts 1 and 2, and the kitchen scene in Part 3, were added to the final version in early September.

Third Revision Update: As strong an opening as the Second Revision was, I found I could make the final version stronger still. Chapter 1 now launches even more major story threads, and Parts 2, 3, and 5 now have extra action and drama! The opening is now complete. Update 10/5/11: Today, it turns out, Steve Jobs has died. Believe it or not, I half expected this when I started writing this chapter last year. Now consider the implications of the face on the giant screen in the context of Chapter 15.

Fourth Revision Update: The Final Revision has been expanded even more and greatly improved! Since it’s now the novelization of the hypothetical TV “pilot movie,” it now comes in eight parts instead of the original five, with a far more intricate plot and greater coherence. This, I feel deep in my heart, is publication-worthy at last.

Table of Contents:
  1. Intro: Press the Reset Button (November 1, 2010, final revision 10/13/11)
  2. The Beginning of the End (May 31, 2011 [as part of 1.1 "I Can See for Miles"; Final Revision 7/3/12)
  3. I Can See for Miles (May 31, 2011 [as 1.1], Final Revision 7/4/12)
  4. Escape to New York (June 1, 2011 [as 1.2 "Mathematics of Chaos"]; Final Revision 7/5/12)
  5. Secret Meetings (June 2, 2011 [as part of 1.3 "The Lost Cause"; Final Revision 7/6/11)
  6. The Lost Cause (June 2, 2011 [as 1.3]; Final Revision 7/7/12)
  7. Stalking the Rotten Apple (June 3, 2011 [as part of 1.4 "Enter the Monkeywrench"; Final Revision 7/8/12)
  8. Enter the Monkeywrench (June 3, 2011 [as 1.4]; Final Revision 7/9/12)
  9. The Virus Has Been Spread (June 4, 2011 [as 1.5]; Final Revision 7/10/12)
  10. Interlude 1: Rocket Ready (June 5, 2011)
The original introduction from the first draft is itself now revised:
This marks the official début of a character whose story I originally started writing back in 1992 using a different handle [for the main character] (which, interestingly enough, I’ve brought back for the same character). Back then, the storyline was completely different. I was a recently converted otaku and an aspiring cartoonist back then; I had no training in either art or storytelling. All I had was ideas. It took me nearly two decades to turn the ideas into an actual story. In the meantime, I amassed a library’s worth of books on how to write and trained myself how to write. Over the years, I wrote scripts for several scenes I intended to publish in manga form; I’m putting most of these scenes into the novel. The central scene of Chapter 1 [now Part 4 below] is one of them. [I also created a huge number of characters starting in 1992; I introduce several of them here, and you’ll be meeting the rest of them later. Certain characters, Shira foremost among them, are even older than that (I first came up with Shira in her original form back in 1986). The most important characters now come with their “taglines”, the oldest of them (those for Shira, Leila, and Dr. Becket) dating back to 1994.]

An early version of this chapter was originally posted on the JulNoWriMo forums earlier this year; the “Interlude” at the end of this chapter first appeared on the AugNoWriMo forums (now closed), without what is now its opening section, and appears here otherwise unchanged. [The original] is the official 1.0 version. [The new version linked below is Revision 3.0.]

And now, let’s meet Spanner as he makes his Spectacular Entrance!

Special Guest Star: Steve Jobs’ ego!
Not Appearing: President Sarah Palin Michelle Bachmann Rick Perry Stephen Harper Goldman Sachs & Company!
And here’s the original intro to the Intro, with the added disclaimer to the disclaimer: to the print publishers I’ll be marketing this as a political thriller, so that only fandom and the Internet (and of course sharp-eyed readers) will recognize in it the science fiction, you know, the kind of stuff, say, litfic author Margaret Atwood allegedly does not write.
Finally, after almost 20 years, Chaos Angel Spanner is ready to be unleashed onto an unsuspecting reading public. It may not be the manga I originally envisioned back in 1992, but I still intend to do that sometime in the future, depending on whether I actually succeed in learning how to draw.

Finally, after four years of participation in NaNoWriMo, one of my WriMo novels is ready to publish and is being posted. You’ll now be able to see what I’ve been doing since my first NaNo in 2006, and you can now find out just what has been obsessing me for the past two decades.

I’m actually starting in a different genre from the main story. Someday I may write a sequel as a Space Western. However, when I started planning the manga I would later name Chaos Angel Spanner back in 1992, 2014 was still far enough in the future that I could still write it as cyberpunk science fiction. Today...well, because of many long years of procrastination, it’s now 2010 [as of this writing], very close to the start of the Spanner timeline, too close to be science fiction anymore. It might as well be contemporary, so that’s exactly how I’m treating it. And so I’m saying my bittersweet farewell to science fiction — and paying homage to 20th-century retro-futurism in the main story. This is, after all, the 21st Century, the Century of Science Fiction. We’re living the future the science fiction authors and the futurists were writing about; all that’s missing is the spaceships. And that’s where we’re about to return in Chapter One. Back to our own world: the Cyberpunk Universe. I intend to stay out of the publisher-imposed Sci-Fi Ghetto. You see, I’m a genre bender, and Spanner is at its core a political thriller.

So what do you do when the future is cancelled? Start all over again in the present and make your future. This is not a spoiler: it’s the entire story.

Now it’s time at last for the main event...
The challenge: free America — therefore the world — from its self-proclaimed liberators.
The struggle begins here!

As of 10/12/11 this chapter is dedicated with some affection and much irony to Harlan Ellison, a living legend whose influence on my sector of science fiction cannot possibly be avoided no matter how unpleasant his personality gets, and who is carrying out his transmigration rather more successfully than the Corporate kingpin at the center of the action.

Chapter 2

Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011, 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

Spanner 1.1: I Can See for Miles

The massively revised second draft of Chaos Angel Spanner Book 1 begins here, with two new scenes not included in the Script Frenzy 2011 TV script.

Third Edition Update, 9/3/11: There may not be any major changes here, but they pave the way for even greater changes to come in the wake of the new developments (as of this writing) in Chapters 14 and 15. As the new Third Edition versions post, watch especially for Leila’s arc; it’s about to get a lot more interesting, especially in the leadup to the important events of Chapters 8 and 9. One addition from the original manga idea is the “character taglines”; in fact, the earliest of them, those for Shira and Leila, date back to 1994 and sum up their characters.

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 1: Spanner in the Works
Part 1: I Can See for Miles (Revision 3)

spanner: Brit for monkeywrench

19 august 2014.
morning in america.

Posted by LocaFantoma99 to MyTube on 19 August 2014:
[The cheerful face of a beautiful dark-skinned redhead appears on screen. The green eyes, large sharp nose, and wild hair identify her clearly as Shira Thomas. Some records say she is seventeen years old and others say fourteen, yet she has the maturity of someone several years older. She speaks in a strong, deep, almost boyish voice.]

Hi again! [waves] It’s me, La Loca Fantoma, the teenage nuisance, back to bother you yet again. Some of you are wondering why I still get to shoot off my big mouth when so many other people are getting shut down and even disappeared. Well, like they say, it’s a dirty job, and somebody’s gotta do it. [winks] O my ever-faithful fans, I won’t shut up till They shut me up. But They know what I can do to them, so They’re afraid to touch me. At least for now, anyway.

I know you’re worried about me. We’ve all been living on the edge for the past two years. It’s been hard times for almost everybody since the war came home. Yeah, I’ve made a lot of enemies. But I had a lot of enemies before I started, and I inherited some of ’em from my Evil Stepmother.

Everybody knows how these things are supposed to go. Pretty girl starts a video blog on YouTube and Facebook, gets involved with secretive cult and sinister conspiracy, gets whacked in mid-vlog a year later, vlog gets outed as fiction. Well, I’m real, and I’ve been here for over five years now, and I’m still here.

I hear some people are saying I’m the last hope for the Reality-Based Community. Noooo — YOU are. What’s your pill, red or blue? If you can’t save the world, nobody can. Me, I just pass the word on.

On a parting note, I’ve just found out that the new rich old toy boy collected by my Evil Stepmother, the Great and Holy Prophet Drusilla Becket, Incorporated, is a dirty old dog. Evil Stepmother had better keep her Mr Albert J. Pernell on a tight leash if she doesn’t want yet another embarrassing scandal to blow up in her face. Oh yeah, and knight B4 to D5. Checkmate. [winks]

Hang in there, everybody. [waves] See ya!
Shira Thomas
expect the unexpected

dreamspace. The beautiful magical girl with long black hair tries and tries to dispel the darkness devouring the world. But the more she fights the darkness, the more viciously the darkness attacks the world, until it is destroyed. Helplessly she watches herself transform into a monstrous evil witch born from the darkness, a horror of pure entropy. For the darkness is her own despair, flowing from her like tears—

halfway house, Los Angeles. Leila Shelley, disgraced teenage fashion model, wakes up screaming, sitting bolt upright. She pants heavily as if she has just run a marathon’s distance from a serial killer. Her violet eyes are full of panic. Her bobbed black hair is pasted to her head by drenching sweat. She looks around her. She finds herself sitting completely naked among the blasted ruins of her bed. She takes in several deep breaths to calm herself down.

A beautiful red rose that once stood proudly on the nightstand now lies next to the shattered bed among the shards of its vase. Outside the window, thick smog from millions of commuting cars has turned the morning sky red.

Her two terrified roommates emerge from the closet. One black, one Mexican, they are heroin addicts here in hopes of kicking the habit. The Mexican girl says, “Didn’t you say those nightmares make you wanna die?”

The black girl adds, “So when you gonna kill yourself?”

Leila shoots a murderous look at them. They hide back in the closet and slam the door.

She hears clattering outside her door. Someone throws the door open, and several people rush in, led by the treatment center’s head nurse. The others gasp when they see the devastation.

“It was the drugs again, wasn’t it,” says the nurse, annoyed.

Leila gets up without bothering to dress. “No. What I used to take the drugs for,” she says in a soft Irish accent. “They didn’t work.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“I don’t care.”

“That furniture was expensive! If you cost us any more money, we’re sending you back to you’re grandfather to do to you as he wills!”

“No you won’t.” Leila and the head nurse glare at each other. The other residents, concerned for Leila, start cleaning up the mess.

Suddenly the door flies open. “Mum!” cries Leila joyfully. Three women burst into the room, two of whom look like Leila: her mother Taylor Brinkman, a tattooed gothpunk singer in black Sexy Kunoichi gear; her cool elegant aunt Ariel Shield; and her redheaded younger sister Fiona Shelley.

The head nurse tries to keep them away from Leila. “You are not authorized to be here! Leave the premises or we shall call the cops! Guards!

Taylor shoves her sideways across the room into a wall. Ariel gets between her and Leila; she coldly commands, “Don’t interfere.” Fiona takes Leila by the hand and pulls her to her feet. Leila’s fellow residents throw clothes to her; she quickly slips on a long printed T-shirt and flip-flops. The four women rush to the door. A small army of guards find themselves confronting two scary beauties in all black.

The security chief barks, “Stop! or we’ll have you arrested for trespassing, maybe even kidnapping!”

Ariel snaps, “Get out of our way.”

“You are not supposed to be here!”

Taylor glances back at Leila, then retorts: “Neither is she. Now let us through.”

The guards look at each other, then at the women. Then they let them pass through. Taylor, Ariel, Fiona, and Leila walk away down the hall to the front door and out into the ominous rush-hour smog. Wanting to get in the last word, the security head fires an ineffectual parting shot at the unheeding women: “Don’t think you’ll get away with this!”

Leila Renata Shelley
kiss the razor’s edge

the streets, Washington, D.C. In the imperial capital of the world, two warriors in battle uniform are on a mission. Oliver Thorwald, tall and lean, a young Corporate scion turned special forces soldier, and his short clownish point man from the old Confederacy (now the Holy Christian People’s Royal Republic of the Confederate States of New Israel), Johnny-Johnny Johnson, stride confidently up the sidewalk, searching for their target. The Honorable Senator George C. Ryder, a prominent leader of the Conservative Revolutionary Party, has been caught sexually corrupting a child, yet he has used his Party connections to get away with baby rape. As soon as they came back from the oil war in Siberia, Drusilla Becket, Supreme Shepherd of the Church of America, summoned them to purge him with extreme prejudice.

From the other direction, U.S. Marshal Gloria Wright and her assigned COPCO agent, James Sparks, track the same prey. Homeland Security Secretary Karl Radisson commanded them to bring the Senator back alive to stand trial. Wright, one of the last African-American female agents remaining in the National Police, intends to prove herself once and for all by catching this predator. Sparks’ pale face, half-hidden behind bushy dark hair, has the anonymous beauty of the surgically Resculpted; he merely hopes a successful mission will get him his long-promised raise at last.

Down the street, high-volume Party sound trucks scream to a Patriot Country soundtrack that America is God and unfaith is treason, while police sirens warn any traffic in their path to get out of the way Or Else. The people on the sidewalks crowd their way to the curb to gawk. Senator Ryder’s pursuers struggle their way to the front. Sparks finds himself distracted by the excited squeals of teenage fangirls that point his attention toward a tall young woman with cinnamon skin, beautiful green eyes, a large sharp nose, and a wild shock of unmanageable red hair, sporting a midnight blue MMA Force baby tee, Sexy Catholic Schoolgirl microskirt, and cyberpunk-fashion augmented-reality goggles perched over her eyes. She adjusts her mirrorshades with the long slender index finger of her fighting-gloved left hand. Wright yanks him away by the arm. “You know her?”

He shrugs. “Who doesn’t?”

“Well, get back to work, fanboy. This mission is way too urgent.”

“Yes, sir!”

Johnson stands next to the girl and snarls in revulsion at the ugliness he perceives in her dark skin. She gets a horrible chill that tells her he’s not quite human.

Two elderly church ladies in American-flag headscarves, proudly flaunting their immunity to reason in the name of Jesus America, accost her. One screams, “Young lady, what in the holy name of Jesus America are you doing prancing around naked like a whore!”

Shira leans down intimidatingly. “Why are y’all doing throwing Sharia in my face? Ain’t burqas the Muslim thing?” The old ladies gasp in horror at her blasphemy.

The fangirls discover their idol in distress and run over to confront her tormentors. The confrontation becomes a screaming match and then a fistfight in quick order. Shira uses the distraction they provide to vanish from sight.

No one can hear their own thoughts over the deafening sound trucks as they boom past. Johnny-Johnny resists the temptation to slash the insolent bitch right now. He has God’s work to do first.

Then the police cars pass, followed by a convoy of armoured black stretch Hummers. Most of them contain Secret Service agents. Only the last carries the political VIP they guard. Prophet Drusilla assured Thorwald the Secret Service will not interfere with his mission and promised dire consequences for those who do. Secretary Radisson sternly informed Marshal Wright that Ryder is a key figure in a child sex-slave ring that threatens the integrity of the American Empire, so she must catch him for brainscan interrogation.

At last, Senator Ryder’s transport approaches. Wright gestures to give the signal. A squadron of cops appear; guns drawn, they surround the transport and order it to stop. Wright and Sparks join them, hoping to arrest him.

Suddenly, Thorwald whips out a handheld sound cannon and blasts out the stretch Hummer’s windows. Several cops go down writhing, trying to hold their ears, screaming in pain. Johnson fires a shot pistol into the terrified Ryder’s head to obliterate it mid-scream in an explosion of blood. The little blond girl behind him faints at the horror. Mission accomplished, they turn to congratulate each other, only to hear the cocking of guns. “Freeze!” yells Wright. The cops are surrounding them.

Johnson raises his shot pistol at Wright; Sparks pulls her away so that Johnson’s blast misses. Thorwald drops his sound blaster, whips out a pair of Glock 9s with thirty-shot magazines, fires wildly into the cops, dropping eight. Four pretty headshots: four cops are dead. Johnson tries to yank the unconscious girl out of the car. Thorwald pulls him away by the arm and barks, “Now’s not the time!”

As the hitmen flee the scene, Sparks shouts into his communicator, “Senator and eight officers down! Sound a Terror Alert at once! Condition Red! I repeat, this is Condition Red!”

A chorus of air-raid sirens emits a deafening scream citywide. The hitmen slip into the nearby slum. Thorwald sneers, Johnson giggles; they shoot down every bum, hippie, drug dealer, and gangster they come across. On a whim, Johnson shoots down two black bystanders. Thorwald glares down at him. Johnson grins submissively and says, “They was just niggers, bubba.” Thorwald yanks him by the arm, and they run away.

Wright, Sparks, and a small army of enraged cops follow the gunshots and the trail of dead. “Keep running, we’ll catch ’em!” yells Sparks. “When they stop for their fun, they’re ours!

“Eat justice, parasites!” war-cries Thorwald as he sprays bullets into a group of screaming prostitutes. Johnson jumps one survivor and giggles while he stabs her to death. “Johnny, you idiot, save the fun for later!” scolds Thorwald. Johnson quickly hacks a breast off the corpse and crams it into his mouth.

Freeze!” Wright and Sparks behind them, pointing their pistols—

Before they can get off a shot, Thorwald flips his rifle up and fires once into Wright’s chest. Open wound — armour-piercing shell—

Suddenly two sneakers slam into his face, knocking his brain haywire, sending him stumbling backwards. Johnson swallows hard, spins around, and finds himself facing the dark-skinned redhead from the street. He screams, “Bounty hunter! Shit!

Battle fire in those pretty green eyes, cockeyed smirk on her big sensuous lips — she’s a Tracker on the warpath in battle gear exposing her taut abs and powerful legs. She bobs up and down like an impatient boxer. Lust-crazed men join their howls to the fangirl squee. Their roar energizes her. Johnson grabs her tee, brings down the knife; she twists so all his blade cuts is fabric, and she vanishes. When she pops back up, her firm hard-nippled breasts mock him. He grabs her skirt’s elastic band and slings his blade at her breasts; she falls backwards so his grip yanks her skirt down and breaks her G-string, and she rolls out of them and back up, revealing fashionably hairless pubis and large tight shapely butt. Now she wears Nikes, ankle socks, fighting gloves, AR goggles, wicked grin, and nothing else.

Now try catching me, boy,” she mocks.

Thorwald grabs her from behind. She slams her head back to shatter his nose and slips her sweaty body out of his grip, then sends a rising back kick into his jaw. Johnson rage-rushes her, hammers the knife down; she slips between his arms, headbutts his jaw knocking back his head; he falls, twitches, moans, rubs his head where it hit pavement.

Thorwald shoots at a ghost. She reappears up against him, elbow rising into his jaw, bends his gun arm backwards, slips around him to ease the arm out of its socket. Butt him sideways, slip through his legs, stand on her arms, double kick upward into the jaw so he flies backwards and she handstands for a second before twisting back onto her feet and upright.

The cops swarm the killers. Sparks runs to Wright. Her wound coughs out blood.

“Wright! Are you — oh my God—”

“Shoot those bastards before they get away,” moans Wright. “They’re too dangerous...” The Marshal dies.

While cops shoo off all bystanders and zip up Ryder’s headless corpse, paramedics rush the little girl away on a stretcher. Sparks slowly stands up and turns away from the fallen agent, but cannot avoid the sight of four more fallen cops. Slowly he spins, almost dizzy, till suddenly he finds himself in the redhead’s arms. His body jerks from the surprise.

“You okay?” she asks.

“Me? I’m just glad the girl’s all right. But five cops died just to save one little girl from a rapist, and the pedo hunters were even worse...”

“How so?”

“That giggling psycho? He was trying to eat her.”

“Oh boy...”

Sparks pats Shira’s left buttock and touches fabric. Her skirt is back on. She doesn’t flinch; she seems to like it. He puts his hand on her back and feels her shirt. He looks at her face and sees a beautiful smile.

He narrows his eyes. “You were fighting naked, weren’t you.”

“Clothes have traction. Much harder to hold onto wet skin.” She winks.

He grins. “I like you already. What’s your name?”


“That Shira?”

“Yeah. And you’re...”

“Sparks. J.T. Call me Jim if you like.”

Shira looks at him skeptically. “You changed your face.”

“Lost it with my partner and K-9 in a case two years ago. Didn’t want the bad guys to see my father staring out at ’em, so I took the Pretty City route.”

“Tell me the real reason.”

He shrugs. “Just didn’t wanna see his face staring me in the mirror every time I look.”

She smiles mischievously. “Good enough excuse.”

He slips his hand beneath her skirt to caress her soft bare buttock. Their lips come dangerously close to contact when his boss interrupts them. “Sparks! No fraternization!” He slaps Sparks on the top of his head; Sparks winces in pain.

Two uniformed COPCO agents grab Shira by the arms and pull her away to try to arrest her. “ID, you stupid oafs!” They stop and stare at her. She stares back at each of them in turn, then looks down at the ID card hanging from her “What Would Scooby Do?” neck strap, hoping they’re just smart enough to notice.

“I’ll do it,” says Sparks, bringing an ID card reader. He takes her card and laser-reads the barcode. “Well, well, well. Looks like she checks out.” He lets go of the card and shows the screen to the uniforms. “Not only that, she’s got a Exception from the dress code nazis, bought and paid for by the Trackers Guild. Let her go.”

The uniforms look dumbly at each other, then her, then Sparks. After a pause, they bark “Yes sir!” in unison, let Shira go, and grumble away. Sparks shrugs. Shira winks.

James Tiberius Sparks
love is stronger than justice

apartment, Seattle. Keenan Sasser, once-trendy litfic auteur turned low-paid pulp hack, replays the vision in his mind. He thinks: how come the Civet timeline keeps terminating this way? There’s got to be some anomaly. He gets out of bed, stumbles to his desk, and opens up his laptop. Ada Paulette Wintergreen, his artist wife, brings the coffee into the room. The first one up gets coffee duty; this time it’s Ada’s turn.

“The world blew up on you yet again?” says Ada.

“Still trying to figure out what the anomaly is.”

“Who turned left at Albuquerque?”

“Might as well be.” Keenan scans the scene lists for his five cancelled Civet novels on the screen. “So where could it be?”

“I think it was back in Book 5, when Dr Forster got whacked and his nanites got stolen. Then everything unravelled for eighteen volumes after that.”

“Then the publisher stole our copyrights and told the hacks to ruin everything.“

“Keenan, they cancelled your series because no one reads science fiction anymore.”

“More like the future’s politically incorrect, like we’re trapped in a pocket universe permanently set to 1955. Now let’s see, where is that scene?” A notification appears on screen to inform Keenan that James T. Sparks is calling. “Excuse me.” He clicks the popup, and a dark-haired young man in dark sunglasses appears in a new window. Shira, her arms around him, smiles at them from over his shoulder.

“Heya, Keenan. The world blow up on you again?”

Keenan chuckles. “How’d ya guess.”

“I checked that timeline you sent me.”


“Turns out Dorinda got lucky. Back in our reality, the schedule just got sped up.”

“Make way for bad ending number two,” Shira adds.

Ada gasps. “How could that even be possible, Jim?”

“Yeah, J.T.,” adds Keenan, “tell us.”

“I’ll take this one,” says Shira. “Word is, terror fuhrer Doc Becket had the CIA snatch some nanotech from Japan, and he wants a replicating doomsday device in just two years. Not 2112, but 2016.”

Keenan and Ada suddenly feel cold. “You’re kidding,” says Keenan, “aren’t you.”

“You know,” adds Ada, “like the Doctor’s supposed to be slaughtering dissidents?”

Sparks does not smile. “Do I look like I’m kidding? It even gets worse.”

Keenan sighs. “How much worse?”

“Just got leaked intel about a secret project out in the asteroid belt. Big defense bucks on that one. They got crews from GE, Boeing, Yoyodyne, and Dictel out there. Turns out they’re building a nuke-powered sun gun.”

“What would they want a ‘sun gun’ for? Sounds like science fiction to me.”

Shira shoots a You’re so clueless look at them. “Why else? To blow up the sun, of course!”

Keenan looks back at Ada; her eyes and mouth are wide open. She says weakly, “Bad ending number three...”

He looks back at the screen in wide-eyed horror. “Oh. shit—”

on to the next...

Back to Chapter 1 index...
Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2.1, 6/14/11: Fixed text, added one line of dialogue, and added a few Corporations to Sparks’ bad news.]
[Revision 2.2, 7/30/11: New first paragraph (Leila’s dream) added along with a new final paragraph in 9.6 as bookends for a major arc.]
[Revision 2.3 part 1, 8/5/11: added new introduction of Shira in the second half of a new middle section, a fight scene. Shira’s now in section 3, and the “bad endings” theme, derived from videogames and Scott Pilgrim, begins here.]
[Revision 2.3 part 2, 8/7/11: added new second half of first scene, introducing Leila’s mother, aunt, and sister on a rescue mission; and first half of middle section, a shootout that raises two villains to major status and introduces a new hero alongside Sparks.]
[Revision 2.4, 8/8/11: revised Shira’s first appearance to introduce her “detect evil” power.]
[Revision 3.0, 9/3/11: Added Shira’s fangirls (you’ll be hearing more from them later) and character taglines (added to the original comics idea in 1994). Made Shira’s blog post the opening, as in the first draft. Developed certain passages, tweaked events to maximize “WHAM!”, improved foreshadowing, and corrected many text and continuity errors.]
[Revision 3.1, 9/28/11: Publication version. Made text improvements and added one missing detail (Shira’s neck strap from Chapter 3).]
[Revision 3 Final, 10/5/11: Added to Shira’s introduction the description “wild shock of unmanageable red hair” first given to her in the early Project Notebooks from the mid-1990s. Final version.]

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spanner: The Second Draft Starts Tonight!

Starting in March, I've been writing a whole lot of revision notes. Of course, March was NaNoEdMo, and Script Frenzy came right afterward. But since then, I've done very little editing and a whole lot of note writing. I say it's about time I stop writing notes and start actually editing.

This time, I'm giving myself a reason to finish the second draft of Spanner. Today I'll get rid of the links to the first draft of Book 1, and then post the revised chapters in parts, one new section each day. These sections, at least in the early chapters, are based mainly on the TV script from this year's Script Frenzy, since the script for a television episode is generally in four to six parts. I'll start today by revising the Intro and reposting it right after I post this.

The link to the now revised Intro is here:
Chaos Angel Spanner Intro: Press the Reset Button

Tomorrow: the first part of a massively revised Chapter One!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spanner: The Second Draft Revisions, Part 2

Since last entry, I've been writing a lot of notes longhand on scratch paper in a frenzy of inspiration, and I came up with a lot of ideas I'd either neglected entirely or never came up with in the first place. And some of these are not just very interesting, they fit so well that I'll have to find a place to put them in the second draft of Spanner.

First of all, there's the idea of an AI as the mind of the city, called an "urban intelligence". Sure, this may have been a cyberpunk cliché for a while, way back in the 1980s. In the revision I'm planning for Chapters 15 and 16, Shira and JT find themselves talking with the mind of the city of Seattle when she switches the TV to channel 12 (the local community TV station on cable systems) on a sleepless night after the Great Police Robot Riot of 2014. Since one of Seattle's nicknames is "Emerald City", I'm seriously tempted to play around with Wizard of Oz references. While researching The Wizard of Oz on TV Tropes and the Gutenberg Project, I realized that my beautiful teenage witch character Polly Parker's true identity in dream reality is none other than Princess Ozma. Is Mimi Scott her Dorothy? I already have a "Wicked Witch of the West" in the cult-guru villainess Drusilla Becket, a character whom I developed most intensively during the years I worked on my 2007 NaNoWriMo novel now on hiatus, Bad Company.

Another old cyberpunk cliché I'm going to exploit is the private police agency. Considering how those TEA Party corporatists are determined to privatize government while trying to turn America into a new Soviet Union for giant corporations, this may actually happen. The name of the police corporation is, of course, COPCO. It and the Seattle "urban intelligence" will be going at it big time, with the big showdown occurring in the last few chapters of Book 1.

Before that, I decided to reevaluate the "sexcrime" theme. I'm dropping a lot of the "lolicon" stuff because it now strikes me as too "otaky". For this, I'm mostly substituting the idea of pedophilia as the reference crime. Fornication and adultery? Thoughtcrime? They're not just treasonous, they rape children! From what I've seen, it seems like the most rabid corporatists are also the most fanatical prudes. And so Shira, jailbait superslut (if you believe she's not lying about her age), uses the combination of her body and her age as a dangerous and possibly deadly weapon. Ephebophilia (sexual desire for adolescents) replaces homosexuality as the unforgivable sin conflated with pedophilia (as homosexuality itself once was, and to some people still is). Problem is, teenagers have a horrible tendency to be damn sexy.

As for the "lolis", pedophilia turns out to be the crime that marks a Corporate or a mobster as above the law. If a megacorp boss or gang lord has a loli or catamite, it tells you he's got nothing but contempt for a legal system he believes is beneath him. This is why Shira ends up rescuing 10-year-old Ayla from the Yakuza in book 1 and 7-year-old Lucie from the Russian mob in book 2. Oh, and Rebel Styles is still there, destroying men on video.

And before that, I started working out the "Psycho Schoolgirl Lesbian Yandere Love Dodecahedron" story arc in book 2. Basically, Shira's got a bunch of girls after her who are just about completely nuts, and they go to war against each other for the right to be Shira's One And Only. It's not going to be pretty, but it'll sure be entertaining.

Oh, and the actor who plays Damon on The Vampire Diaries? My muse is currently crushing on him. She wants to cast him as J.T. Sparks. Uh, I love you, dear muse, but considering how extreme this story is, I think you should keep it in fantasy. Of course, that won't stop me from wanting to cast Rutger Hauer and Malcolm McDowell as the villains Henry and Richard Becket...

I haven't really fully recovered from Script Frenzy yet. But I'll resume work on the Spanner second draft as soon as I do.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spanner: After Winning Script Frenzy, What Next?

1. I Won!
Script Frenzy 2011 is over, and I managed to win in the last week. Since I can write scripts a whole lot faster than I can write prose, Panic Time can end up a whole lot more productive, proportionately speaking, for Script Frenzy than for NaNoWriMo. To summarize: at the beginning of the final week, I had written only 33 pages, and some of those were blank placeholders. At the end of the week, I had 100 pages, none of them placeholders, and just enough to win. Okay, that's out of the way at last.

2. Now What?
Now comes the burning question: what do I do next with the story? Do I start editing the TV series script? Do I go back and finish editing the second draft of the novelization? Or do I go back to the original comics script and update it to fit the story as it now stands three Script Frenzies later?

The answer, of course, is: Yes.

3. Changes to the Second Draft
Now Screnzy's been over for four whole days, and my traditional post-WriMo rest period is done. However, this morning I woke up to find that large portions of Spanner's premise have changed in my half-sleep. Now I have to change the second draft to accomodate these. Fortunately, the new changes explain some otherwise seemingly gratuitous plot elements. The changes also reflect certain current events that I never dreamed of in the 1992-2010 period from the time I started Spanner to the (near) end of the first draft.

The new events that require the new changes are:
  1. In its last gasp of power, Operation Permanent Republican Administration is fighting to replace American democracy with Corporatist dictatorship. Meanwhile, it has finally acquired Canada.
  2. Osama bin Laden is dead.
The new changes are:

The Corporate States of America
In the novelization's first draft, I parlayed the Republican Party's infatuation with the Old Confederacy into a New Confederacy. This turned out to be unwieldy. I decided to simplify things by turning the antidemocratic coup into a strictly Corporatist one. In other words, the giant corporations own the government, and the people are screwed (for the reason, see below).

And so Chapter 1 begins with this narration:
In the year of Our Lord, two thousand fourteen—or, rather, in the year of Our Ford, one hundred fifteen—the Corporate States of America is in its second year of war against the Corporate Republic of China over control of the oilfields of Siberia.
That little bit of narration—a voiceover in the TV series, a caption in the comics—establishes the entire cyberpunk universe in just one rambling sentence.

Fordism: The Only True Religion
The religion of the Corporate States of America, and of the Corporate Republic of China as well, is Fordism, the cult of the Holy Prophet Henry Ford. Other than jumpstarting, so to speak, the automotive industry in America, Ford is most famous for inventing, with Frederick Winslow Taylor, the assembly line. Taylor's "scientific management" and "time and motion studies" were designed to treat workers as if they were machines. But "Taylorism" is only part of Fordism. Ford was a leading champion of suburbanism, and he designed the German Autobahn for Hitler and helped design its successor, the Interstate Highway System, for President Dwight Eisenhower, who as General rode the Autobahns to victory over Hitler. Most important, however, is how he ran his company: as a police state. This is the heart and soul of Fordism: the corporatist ideology of Ford, and of J. D. Rockefeller before him. Naturally, being the Robber Barons they were, they were Social Darwinists who believed that the poor were unworthy of life and who therefore believed that only giant corporations could properly run a government. The government most faithful to this Fordist precept is not America or even China but Singapore, the model government of the twenty-first century.

Ford was also a completely irrational anti-Semite, which led naturally to his hero-worship of Hitler. Modern Fordists dispense with this anachronistic personality quirk of Ford the man because, at least in America, the cult's leading theologian, Ayn Rand, and most of its economic gurus are Jewish. Just as Rand is probably generating electricity spinning in her grave at the reality that her most fanatical followers are the ones most like the corporatist villains of Atlas Shrugged, Ford has no doubt gone turbine at the fact that so many of his leading disciples come from the ranks of the villains of The International Jew. Chinese Corporatism evades this by replacing Rand with the ancient Chinese philosophy most compatible with Social Darwinism, the cruel Legalism, against which Confucius spent his career arguing.

Does the conflict between Corporatist America and China strongly resemble that between Communist China and Russia? Well, guess what: Soviet Communism, better known as Stalinism, was not actually communistic at all, if communism means collective ownership and management. The leading Bolsheviks, not just Stalin but Lenin and Trotsky as well, were huge admirers of Henry Ford who bought huge numbers of Fordson tractors from his Ford Motor Company. Stalin, of course, modelled the entire political system of the Russian Empire after Ford's totalitarian management style. National Socialism is really Fordism plus institutional racism far worse than Ford's own; Fascism, particularly the dominant (and notoriously brutal) Spanish variety, is Fordism taken straight. It was ridiculously easy for China to switch from Mao's imitation-Marxist Stalinism to straight Fordism (called "market socialism" according to the Chinese government's official spin). America, however, is a bit more troublesome, to say the least, because here Fordism is the religion of the elite. And the American elite may be the most predatory elite in history.

Ladenism: The Religion of Evil
At the opposite extreme from the Overclass, you of course have the Underclass. By now everybody knows that the American Navy SEALs have given Bin Laden the martyrdom he craved. (In Spanner, the SEAL who actually killed him is Will Becket, and, being the hereditary vampire he is, he killed him by drinking his blood. The controversial disposal of Bin Laden's corpse at sea was intended to hide this.) Naturally, this spawned a cult. Here's the surprise: the most fanatical of Bin Laden's cultists are not Arabs or Afghans, but American, Mexican, and Salvadoran gangsters in American prisons. There, the warrior cult plaguing Afghanistan and Pakistan fused with the neo-Aztec Saint Death cult and neo-Nazi Black Odinism to form the cult opposite to official Fordism.

That means that the "baka bombers" Shira kills in Chapter 3 are not the foreign "holy warriors" of the original scenario, but American or Latin American gangsters trying to blood-sacrifice as many innocents as they can in order to secure their place in Heaven beside their Holy Prophets, Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. In other words, Bin Laden's deification by bullet is bound to spawn a new religion that considers even the most violent fundamentalist Islamisms to be weak.

These are the major changes I'm making to Spanner's background scenario. Sure, they're inspired by the latest current events (in Pakistan, the Middle East, and the Midwest), but they solve a number of problems in the first draft.

Now to start writing the second draft...